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Rodents are not just rats and mice

Posted in Animals, Nature, Wildlife on Sunday, 31 January 2016

This edited article about rodents originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 155 published on 2 January 1965.

coypu and water vole, picture, image, illustration

The Coypu and a water vole, large and small rodents

When we hear the word “rodent” we immediately think of rats. But the rat is only one of many different kinds of animals which zoologists class as rodents.

“Rodent” is a group name for about 2,000 species of animals distributed over nearly all parts of the world, including rats, mice and rabbits, and unfamiliar ones like the porcupines, the jerboa and the mink.

The name “rodent” comes from the Latin word rodo, meaning “I gnaw,” and it is this habit of constant gnawing that distinguishes the rodents from all other animals.

Unlike the horse and the cow, which chew their food, and the dog and tiger which tear it, rodents chop their way through their food in much the same way that a carpenter shaves off wood with a chisel.

Rodents do not have on each side of the jaw the large, fang-like teeth, called canines, of the dog and cat. Instead they have in front of the jaw powerful teeth called incisors, which are shaped like curved chisels – and are quite as sharp.

As fast as the tops are worn down by constant gnawing, they continue growing upwards from the roots.

If a rodent cannot have something to nibble at all the time, its incisors will grow to an extraordinary length.

Should an incisor break off, the one opposite to it goes on growing and eventually forms a curve round the animal’s head. The unfortunate rodent is then unable to open its mouth to eat and dies of starvation.

Sometimes when a top incisor breaks off, the bottom one will grow upwards until it pierces the animal’s skull and kills it.

It is this constant struggle to keep their incisors short and sharp that makes rodents so destructive. Most of their gnawing is not done for eating, but to prevent their teeth from growing too long and killing them. Read the rest of this article »

In 1821 Brighton Pavilion was completed at a cost of £502,797 6s. 10d.

Posted in Architecture, Arts and Crafts, British Towns, Famous landmarks, Historical articles, History, Royalty on Saturday, 30 January 2016

This edited article about architecture originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 439 published on 13 June 1970.

Brighton Pavilion, picture, image, illustration

General view of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, East Sussex.

If a certain Doctor Richard Russell had not very fervently advised sea-water as a cure for many ills, George Prince of Wales, later King George the Fourth, would never have come to Brighton to try the cure for himself. Nor would he have ever dreamt of building for himself a small palace, or pavilion, of Eastern design down by the sea.

Brighton – or Brighthelmstone as it was then called – was a simple fishing town when the Prince of Wales arrived there on Sunday, September 7th, 1783. He was twenty-one years of age. He liked the place, and came to it again the following year when he rented a house.

The Prince was extravagant, and so vast had grown his debts that in 1786 he decided to close his London residence of Carlton House and go to Brighton to lead a simple, and healthy life.

This time he rented a house on that part of the town known as the Steyne, the rent being £150 a year. This house was to be changed and changed again until finally it became his dream home, the fantastic Royal Brighton Pavilion as we know it today.

When first he rented his “house” the Prince of Wales had secretly married a Mrs. Fitzherbert who lived in a house nearby. They were happy enough at first, but George Prince of Wales was a restless man, and forgetting his resolution of economy, he decided to rebuild the house as a “Marine Pavilion”. The actual owner of the house was one Thomas Kemp. Brighton’s Kemp Town of today is named after him.

The well-known architect, Henry Holland, was given the commission to design the new house on the old site. 150 workmen were employed, and in a remarkably short time a classically simple residence was built. The grounds were laid out by two pupils of that great landscape designer Lancelot – “Capability” – Brown. Everything was as it should be – no mad “new ideas” or revolutionary designs. Although one touch which forecast the growing romantic ideas of George, Prince of Wales, was that he had in his bedroom . . . a glass so situated as to afford the Prince an extensive view of the sea and the Steyne as he lay in bed. Read the rest of this article »

Storming the Eureka Stockade

Posted in Anniversary, Famous battles, History on Saturday, 30 January 2016

picture, Australia, Eureka Stockade, soldiers, rebellion

Colonial soldiers storm the Eureka Stockade. Illustration by Clive Uptton

3 December marks an important anniversary in Australian independence when the Eureka Rebellion broke out in 1854. Gold Miners at Eureka Lead, Ballarat, Australia, had been airing their grievances about the high cost of mining licenses and taxation during the Victorian gold rush and the actions of local military and police. The Ballarat Reform League was formed in September 1854 and growing tension spilled over into armed rebellion.

Miners built a ramshackle stockade to defend their position but were routed by the military and surrendered. 22 miners were brutally killed and news of the massacre spread rapidly turning the victory into a PR disaster. 120 ‘diggers’ were arrested and 13 put on trial for sedition and high treason. All 13 were acquitted and a subsequent enquiry made several recommendations in line with the demands of the rebels.

More pictures featuring the Eureka Stockade can be found here. Many more illustrations relating to the history of Australia, both human and natural, can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 117

Posted in Ancient History, Architecture, Arts and Crafts, Best pictures, Boats, Customs, Educational card, Historical articles, History, Legend, Leisure, Politics, Sea, Ships, Theatre on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Croesus showing his treasures to Solon.

Croesus, picture, image, illustration

Croesus showing his treasures to Solon, 6th Century BC

The second picture shows the Marriage of the Doge and the Adriatic.

Doge, picture, image, illustration

Marriage of the Doge and the Adriatic in Venice

The third picture shows a Winter Carnival in St Petersburg in 1765.

carnival, picture, image, illustration

Winter Carnival in St Petersburg in 1765

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 116

Posted in Actors, Architecture, Best pictures, Educational card, Fairy Tale, Famous Composers, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Law, Magic, Music, Politics, Theatre on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Cinderella by the kitchen fire.

Cinderella, picture, image, illustration

Cinderella by the Kitchen Fire

The second picture shows townsfolk reading a Notice giving their town the right to levy local taxation.

Tax, picture, image, illustration

Notice of the right of a town to levy Octroi tax in the Middle Ages

The third picture shows the dying Violetta in the closing scene of Verdi’s La Traviata.

Traviata, picture, image, illustration

Rodolphe Asks For Forgiveness From Violetta Who Is Dying

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 115

Posted in Actors, Africa, Ancient History, Best pictures, Boats, British Countryside, Christmas, Customs, Educational card, Fairy Tale, Famous Composers, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Magic, Music, Rivers, Theatre, Transport, Travel on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows a barge on the Nile.

Nile, picture, image, illustration

On a barge in the Nile

The second picture shows Christmas Eve in England in the 18th Century.

Christmas, picture, image, illustration

Christmas Eve in England, 18th Century

The third picture shows the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote.

opera, picture, image, illustration

The Queen of Night Meets Tamino and Papageno

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 114

Posted in Best pictures, Educational card, Famous crimes, Historical articles, History, Invasions, Leisure, Religion, Sport, War, Weapons on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Abd-ar-Rahman III proclaiming the Caliphate of Cordoba.

Cordoba, picture, image, illustration

Abd-ar-Rahman III Proclaims the Caliphate of Cordoba

The second picture shows a game of tennis.

 tennis, picture, image, illustration

A game of tennis

The third picture shows Turkish Bashi-bazouks mutilating Greek corpses.

war, picture, image, illustration

Turkish Bashi-bazouks mutilating Greek corpses, Akrotiri, Crete, Greco-Turkish War, 7 March 1897

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 113

Posted in Actors, Best pictures, Customs, Discoveries, Famous Composers, Famous crimes, Famous Inventors, Historical articles, History, Inventions, Leisure, Science, Theatre on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows a scene from Tosca.

La Tosca, picture, image, illustration

La Tosca by Sardou

The second picture shows a kite flying festival in the imperial gardens, China.

kites, picture, image, illustration

Kite flying festival in the imperial gardens, China

The third picture shows Nikola Tesla’s experiment producing light generated by an electric transformer, 1895.

Nikola Tesla, picture, image, illustration

Nikola Tesla's experiment producing light generated by an electric transformer, 1895

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 112

Posted in Aerospace, Ancient History, Architecture, Aviation, Best pictures, Boats, Customs, Disasters, Educational card, Famous battles, Historical articles, History, Sea, Ships, Transport, Travel, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows an Ancient Egyptian funeral ceremony.

Ancient Egypt, picture, image, illustration

Ancient Egypt, funeral ceremony

The second picture shows Francisque Arban being rescued by Italian fishermen, 1846.

balloon, picture, image, illustration

Francisque Arban rescued by Italian fishermen after his balloon crashed into the Adriatic, 1846

The third picture shows the Battle of Milazzo, 260 BC.

Milazzo, picture, image, illustration

Milazzo, the first Roman naval victory over Carthage in 260 BC

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from educational trade cards, 111

Posted in America, Ancient History, Boats, Educational card, Famous battles, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Politics, Railways, Ships, Transport, Travel, War on Thursday, 26 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from our large collection of 19th and early 20th century educational trade cards.
The first picture shows Miltiades, Athenian general and victor of the Battle of Marathon, 490 BC.

Marathon, picture, image, illustration

Miltiades, Athenian general and victor of the Battle of Marathon, 490 BC

The second picture shows an American locomotive, 1860.

American locomotive, picture, image, illustration

American locomotive, 1860

The third picture shows a prayer before the Battle of Lepanto.

Lepanto, picture, image, illustration

Before the Battle of Lepanto

High-resolution scans of all educational cards can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.